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Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has welcomed the postponement of their Harare derby against Dynamos saying the short break will allow some of his players carrying knocks time to recover ahead of their Total Caf Champions League Group B opening round away fixture to Egyptian giants Zamalek next weekend.
The match is set for the 75 000-seater Cairo International Stadium and the Caps are likely to leave for Egypt in mid-week.
The Harare derby was postponed due to the unavailability of the only playable venue in Harare, the National Sports Stadium, after the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing hired out the giant facility for a church service.
Rufaro Stadium, the other alternative venue, is still undergoing renovations, with Harare City Council, who own the facility, saying it can only be ready by May 14.
“It’s in two-fold really. We didn’t want to be far behind in terms of matches in the local league, while the postponement also gives us time to access some of our injured players and for the players to recover too; which is a good thing for us,” said Chitembwe.
He also said it would not distract their preparations for the Zamalek encounter, which he said will be approached in exactly the same way they did their previous Caf Champions League matches that saw them booting out five-time champions TP Mazembe 2-1 on aggregate following a bravely fought 1-1 stalemate at the intimidating Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi.
“We know what we want to achieve as a club and are not going to be intimidated at all. We will just go there and do our job. We are there to compete, not make up numbers. All we need is to take our chances,” said Chitembwe.
Club president Farai Jere has already made a bold declaration that his team will pull through to the next stage of the competition.
After the Zamalek encounter, Makepekepe will be at home the following weekend against Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya.
They will then travel to Tunisia, where Al Ahli Tripoli play their home matches on the weekend of June 20-21 before hosting Zamalek in Harare at the end of June.
Chitembwe and his charges will complete their group fixtures with an away trip to Algeria to face USM Alger.
Should they win their group, they will take on the runners-up of Group A, which features Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, the two Sudanese giants Al Hilal and Al Merreikh and Ferroviario of Mozambique, in the quarter-finals.
In the event that Caps finish second in Group B, they will take on the winners of Group A in the quarter-finals.